Intelligent Design

We Welcome Honest Exchanges Here

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Note: This post’s date stamp has been advanced, to continue a vital discussion. Newer posts follow MathGrrl’s below.

Bornagain77 writes (in jest I believe):  “MathGrrl posting a thread??? [here.] Is this Uncommon Descent???”

BA’s comment reminds me of a conversation I had with my dad when I was about 13.  I was blessed with a dad who from an early age engaged with me on theological issues.  One of the issues we debated was the “once saved always saved issue” (Calvin’s “perseverance of the saints”).  My dad believes in the doctrine, and one day I decided to be a little provocative and told him I had become an Armenian (the camp that believes a Christian can “fall from grace”).  I expected him to get upset and power down on me and try to push me into recanting that statement.

I will never forget his response.  He said, “OK.” 

“What,” I said, “aren’t you going to try to make me change my mind?”

He replied, “On these disputable matters every man has to decide.  If you have a position on an issue and you begin to think you are wrong, you have to work hard and study until you have studied it through.  After you have studied it through you may have come to understand better why you are right.  But if you still think you are wrong, then you have an obligation to change your mind.  I presume you’ve studied ‘once saved always saved” through and you’ve come to the conclusion you were wrong.  So you have to change your mind.”

Back to BA’s statement.  If MathGrrl asserts a position on our site that is contrary to what we assert, we have to study hard.  Then we have two choices:  If we can, we should prove her wrong.  If we can’t we must change our mind.

It is my sincere hope that this site never becomes an echo chamber.  Echo chambers are boring.  We always welcome a (civil) discussion with those who disagree with us.  We never run from a confrontation, because we are confident in our position.  We will debate the issues here and let the chips fall.  This is the same spirit that motivates Dembski and Gordon’s new book, The Nature of Nature, where they gather the most brilliant minds on both sides, discuss the issues, and let the readers (in our case “lurkers”) decided for themselves.

So, welcome MathGrrl.  ID math people, she’s putting you to the test.  Will you rise to meet her?

BTW, I was an Armenian for all of about 10 days.  😉

23 Replies to “We Welcome Honest Exchanges Here

  1. 1
    Neil Rickert says:

    Thanks. The discussion on MathGrrl’s thread is interesting, and I’m glad to see it there.

    I think you meant that you were “Arminian” for 10 days.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Well Mr. Arrington, I did not believe my little quip of surprise would be paid much attention to, but I do whole heartily agree with the sentiment of vigorously pursuing truth and welcome MathGrrl, especially if pursuing truth is indeed her prime motive. I am not trained in higher math, so I cannot join much in that thread, but I do know one thing, as far as the empirical evidence is concerned, gene duplication does not have any support, for all purported examples that I have been made aware of, have all been shot down thus far. Thus, on the ‘actual evidence’ side, I would welcome any Darwinist to present a concrete example of gene duplication leading to a completely novel and functional ‘ORFan’ gene that would withstand scrutiny.

  3. 3
    PaV says:

    Barry:

    The problem is that MathGrrl is failing the test. I’ve asked her repeatedly now to answer a simple question as to what her view of specification is. She won’t answer.

    If she really knew what she was talking about, then she would know that what she is asking for would require an heroic effort on our part to give her her answer. Now why should anyone attempt this if she isn’t capable of understanding the most basic of ideas when it comes to “specification”?

    She is simply baiting us here. If she knew what she was talking about, then she would know that she’s been given answers already. The problem is not that an answer hasn’t been given, but that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Or, at the very least, is not making any attempt whatsoever to make this apparent.

  4. 4
    Brent says:

    “I was an Armenian for all of about 10 days.”

    I used to like you. 🙂

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: speaking of vigorously pursuing the truth;

    Does New Scientific Evidence About the Origin of Life Put an End to Darwinian Evolution? – Stephen Meyer 4 part video
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....45171.html

  6. 6
    jurassicmac says:

    Barry, glad to hear that. This may be an appropriate time to ask if this affects how long comments and responses will have to wait in the moderation process.

  7. 7
    Alex73 says:

    I was always happy to see those who were willing to engage in a civil discourse concerning ID and evolution. I had in the past a nice exchange with Mark Frank (markf, perhaps in these days.) Evere since I had this idea that we needed intelligent posts from those who critique ID.

    Choosing MathGrrl to ask good questions about CSI was an excellent choice, because it is not about the opposing philosophical commitments, but about a not well enough explored part of ID.

    In general ID is part of a much larger area of scientific research about information. How to measure information and how information can be created are apparently not fully understood, otherwise it should be clear what CSI is and could give firm estimates about the information content of living cells etc.

    Just like gravity, we use information every day, in certain contexts can even measure it, but do not really understand what it is.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Alex73 you state;

    ‘Just like gravity, we use information every day, in certain contexts can even measure it, but do not really understand what it is.’

    Indeed!!, while ID has been concerned mostly with defining Information in terms of the amount of ‘classical information’ that has been encoded onto the material (energy/matter) mediums of life (CSI, functional information, etc..), that is really only the tip of the iceberg as far as dealing with the entity of information in life. For as tricky as it has been for scientists to precisely quantify the amount of classical information encoded onto the physical mediums of life, scientists have now found a more mysterious, and foundational, layer of ‘quantum information’ in life.

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA & Protein Folding – ‘Gretchen’ – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/

    As well, this quantum information/entanglement that is found at such a foundational level in life is found to have a much more direct physical effect on life than classical information does (as dramatic as the effect of classical information is). A direct physical effect that has now been detected;

    Quantum entanglement holds together life’s blueprint
    Excerpt: “If you didn’t have entanglement, then DNA would have a simple flat structure, and you would never get the twist that seems to be important to the functioning of DNA,” says team member Vlatko Vedral of the University of Oxford.
    http://neshealthblog.wordpress.....blueprint/

    Does DNA Have Telepathic Properties?-A Galaxy Insight
    Excerpt: DNA has been found to have a bizarre ability to put itself together, even at a distance, when according to known science it shouldn’t be able to. Explanation: None, at least not yet.,,, The recognition of similar sequences in DNA’s chemical subunits, occurs in a way unrecognized by science. There is no known reason why the DNA is able to combine the way it does, and from a current theoretical standpoint this feat should be chemically impossible.
    http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_.....ave-t.html

    In the preceding video, Gretchen rightly wonders as to ‘how do those machines know how to repair the DNA?’;

    Quantum Dots Spotlight DNA-Repair Proteins in Motion – March 2010
    Excerpt: “How this system works is an important unanswered question in this field,” he said. “It has to be able to identify very small mistakes in a 3-dimensional morass of gene strands. It’s akin to spotting potholes on every street all over the country and getting them fixed before the next rush hour.” Dr. Bennett Van Houten – of note: A bacterium has about 40 team members on its pothole crew. That allows its entire genome to be scanned for errors in 20 minutes, the typical doubling time.,, These smart machines can apparently also interact with other damage control teams if they cannot fix the problem on the spot.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....123522.htm

    As well in the video, Gretchen asked if quantum entanglement/information could somehow be measured in proteins and it turns out that quantum entanglement/information has already been detected in proteins;

    Proteins with cruise control provide new perspective:
    “A mathematical analysis of the experiments showed that the proteins themselves acted to correct any imbalance imposed on them through artificial mutations and restored the chain to working order.”
    http://www.princeton.edu/main/...../60/95O56/

    The preceding is solid confirmation that far more complex information resides in life than meets the eye, for the calculus equations for ‘cruise control’ that must somehow reside within the quantum information that is ‘constraining’ the entire protein structure to its ‘normal’ state, is anything but ‘simple information’. For a sample of the equations that must be dealt with, to ‘engineer’ even a simple process control loop like cruise control for a single protein, please see this following site:

    PID controller
    A proportional–integral–derivative controller (PID controller) is a generic control loop feedback mechanism (controller) widely used in industrial control systems. A PID controller attempts to correct the error between a measured process variable and a desired setpoint by calculating and then outputting a corrective action that can adjust the process accordingly and rapidly, to keep the error minimal.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PID_controller

    As well, finding quantum information/entanglement embedded throughout entire protein structures has verified Dr. MacIntosh’s proposal here;

    Information and entropy – top-down or bottom-up development in living systems? A.C. McINTOSH – May 2010
    Excerpt: It is proposed in conclusion that it is the non-material information (transcendent to the matter and energy) that is actually itself constraining the local thermodynamics to be in ordered disequilibrium and with specified raised free energy levels necessary for the molecular and cellular machinery to operate.

    But what is perhaps more intriguing than the unfathomed mystery as to ‘what exactly is this complex quantum information/entanglement doing in molecular biology?’, is the fact that quantum information/entanglement cannot be reduced to a energy/matter basis in the first place;

    The Failure Of Local Realism – Materialism – Alain Aspect – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/4744145

    It is very interesting to note that quantum entanglement, which conclusively demonstrates that ‘information’ in its pure ‘quantum form’ is completely transcendent of any time and space constraints, should be found in molecular biology, for how can the quantum entanglement effect now found in biology possibly be explained by a material (energy/matter) cause when the quantum entanglement effect falsified material particles as its own causation in the first place? (A. Aspect) Appealing to the probability of various configurations of material particles, as Darwinism does, simply will not help since a timeless/spaceless cause must be supplied which is beyond the capacity of the material particles themselves to supply! To give a coherent explanation for an effect that is shown to be completely independent of any time and space constraints one is forced to appeal to a cause that is itself not limited to time and space! i.e. Put more simply, you cannot explain a effect by a cause that has been falsified by the very same effect you are seeking to explain! Probability arguments, which have been a staple of the arguments against neo-Darwinism, simply do not apply! Yet it is also very interesting to note, in Darwinism inability to explain this ‘transcendent effect’ adequately, that Theism has always postulated a transcendent component to man that is not constrained by time and space. i.e. Theism has always postulated a ‘eternal soul’ for man that lives past the death of the body. Moreover quantum information has its very own ‘Conservation of Information’ theorem that also ‘bears the weight’ of the ‘soul postulation’

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time – March 2011
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

    Further notes:

    The ‘Fourth Dimension’ Of Living Systems
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1Gs_qvlM8-7bFwl9rZUB9vS6SZgLH17eOZdT4UbPoy0Y

  9. 9
    MathGrrl says:

    PaV,

    The problem is that MathGrrl is failing the test. I’ve asked her repeatedly now to answer a simple question as to what her view of specification is. She won’t answer.

    As I’ve made clear on the other thread, my goal is to understand CSI, as defined by Dembski in Specification: The Pattern That Signifies Intelligence, in sufficient detail to be able to measure it objectively. To that end, I have asked for a rigorous mathematical definition and example calculations for four scenarios.

    Only vjtorley has even attempted to directly answer my questions. It makes no sense for you to ask me to define your terms when I’ve made it very clear that I do not understand CSI well enough to calculate it.

    Could you please provide a rigorous mathematical definition of CSI based on Dembski’s discussion in Specification… and show how to calculate it for the four scenarios I described in my original post?

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: This is the best poetry slam I’ve ever seen:

    G.O.S.P.E.L. Poetry Slam; To The Point
    http://vimeo.com/20960385

  11. 11
    scordova says:

    Yes,

    Welcome So, welcome MathGrrl.

    Sal

  12. 12
    johnnyb says:

    MathGrrl –

    I have not dived into CSI as much as I have wanted to. However, I think the problems in calculating it is one reason why many ID’ers (including Dembski) have moved on to other metrics for practical work. I personally prefer Active Information at the moment, though I am trying to work on another calculation based on principles of computability – which I hope to apply not only in biology, but also in management of computer programming projects.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    The new paper provides further confirmation, on top of what was provided in post #7, that quantum information/entanglement is involved along the entirety of protein structures. (Though the researchers, without warrant, attributed this ‘chemically impossible’ result to evolution)

    Scientists get glimpse of how the ‘code’ of life may have emerged – March 2011
    Excerpt: Rodriguez discovered that when she made these changes to the enzyme, the binding of the amino acid to the protein was strengthened, even though the amino acid binds far away from the positions where the changes were made. “It is totally counterintuitive,” ,,, In all, Rodriguez found that separately removing seven different “gears” from a distant part of the molecule each caused the amino acid to bind more tightly to the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase. Perona explained that this provides the first systematic analysis demonstrating long-range communication in an enzyme that depends on RNA for its function.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....erged.html

    ——————-

  14. 14
    TheForthcoming says:

    Mathgrrl

    Ask my friend Livingstone who is a pro ID advocate and good at math he might be able to explain it to you.

    His blog is here:

    http://talkbio.blogspot.com

    For more on ID and CSI go here:

    http://www.ideacenter.org/cont.....hp/id/1154

    http://www.faithandevolution.org/questions.php

  15. 15
    Joseph says:

    MathGrrl:

    As I’ve made clear on the other thread, my goal is to understand CSI, as defined by Dembski in Specification: The Pattern That Signifies Intelligence, in sufficient detail to be able to measure it objectively.

    CSI was defined in “No Free Lunch”.

    To that end, I have asked for a rigorous mathematical definition and example calculations for four scenarios.

    And as I asked of you please provide a rigrous mathematical definition of a computer program (CSI) and you will see the error of your ways.

    It makes no sense for you to ask me to define your terms when I’ve made it very clear that I do not understand CSI well enough to calculate it.

    What you nedto do, in that case, is stop and take baby steps by first understanding what specified information is.

    Have you red “No Free Lunch”? That would be the first step. Once you have read tht ten you ca come back and ask speific questions basd on what you have read.

  16. 16
    MathGrrl says:

    I have asked specific questions based on what I’ve read, Joseph. Please answer them.

  17. 17
    Joseph says:

    Have you read “No Free Lunch”? Yes or no.

    The math is all laid out in the book. That is the math for determining 500 bits is the UPB (upper probability bound).

    What other math do you require besides that and the math in the paper I linked to that you refuse to read?

    Why are you avoiding the following:

    And as I asked of you please provide a rigrous mathematical definition of a computer program (CSI) and you will see the error of your ways.

    The point is your “specific questions” and your posts tell me you haven’t put any effort into understanding CSI and you are being purposely obtuse.

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    semi OT:
    this is an interesting hour long video of the Mathematical giants of last century that sheds some light on the limits of math for ‘explaining everything’;

    The Story of Maths 4of4 To Infinity and Beyond – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0_j-0iqxKM

  19. 19
    TheForthcoming says:

    MathGrrl

    I’m new to the ID movement so explaining CSI is a bit tricky.

    Here is another link to help you understand CSI better.

    Dennis Jones Intelligent Design – Official Page on facebook

    “Here’s an excellent tidbit of evidence for design, aka CSI.* In an article entitled “Scientists Probe the Role of Motor Protein in Hearing Loss,” posted by several science magazines on March 6, 2011, the Physorg.com captions the introduction with:

    “From grinding heavy metal to soothing ocean waves, the sounds we hear ar…e all percep…tible thanks to the vibrations felt by tiny molecular motors in the hair cells of the inner ear. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have now identified the mechanism by which a single amino acid change can disrupt the normal functioning of one of the critical components of that physiology – a molecular motor protein called myo1c, which resides in the cochlea of the inner ear” [ http://t.co/hw2YhsT%5D.

    A single mutation – one amino acid change – in a molecular motor protein called myo1c is enough to disrupt the function of the myosin motor in the hair cell and cause hearing loss. The mutation causes a reduced sensitivity, perhaps due to making it spend less time attached to actin filaments. The amino acid is “highly conserved” (which means UNEVOLVED) throughout the superfamily of myosin motors, the Physorg.com article said.”

    Hair cells within the inner ear contain bundles of hair-like extensions that convert sound. Read more here, http://health.howstuffworks.co.....se-ear.htm.

    * CSI, or Complex Specified Information, http://www.facebook.com/topic......;topic=856.

  20. 20
    Joseph says:

    Honest exchanges are welcome, however it has become painfully obvious that MathGrrl et al don’t want an honest exchange…

  21. 21
    PaV says:

    MathGrrl:

    Could you please provide a rigorous mathematical definition of CSI based on Dembski’s discussion in Specification… and show how to calculate it for the four scenarios I described in my original post?

    Implicit in your remark is the idea that Dembski does NOT present a “rigorous mathematical definition of CSI” in Specification. So, what exactly do you mean by “rigorous” definition, or, more specifically, what is it in Dembski’s paper that you feel lacks such “rigor”?

    Please answer. I await.

  22. 22
    smokesignals says:

    It seems to me that the concept lacks the rigour for anyone to be able to calculate CSI for the 4 given scenarios so as to establish agency.

  23. 23
    java says:

    I see what the original poster is trying to do. However I would suggest a more practical test case to measure Complex Specified Information. How about a scenario involving English text as described here?

    In that article we have a snippet of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, let’s call it Gettysburg:

    Gettysburg = “FOURSCOREANDSEVENYEARSAGO”

    According to CSI Gettysburg is a specified, complex piece of information.

    We also have some random text, let’s call it Junk:

    Junk = “ZOEFFNPBINNGQZAMZQPEGOXS”

    According to CSI, Junk is complex but not specified.

    Then we have the word “BLUE”, let’s call it Blue:

    Blue = “BLUE”

    According to CSI, Blue is specified but not complex.

    So we are looking for a function CSI(S) that outputs the CSI score of a string of letters S. Applying this function to above text should yield the following scores according to CSI:

    CSI(Gettysburg) > 1
    CSI(Junk) < 1
    CSI(Blue) < 1

    Note that that after you have the function defined for a string of letters it is possible to expand the solution to more complex scenarios. You can represent just about any type of data, whether they are genetic information or biological descriptors, as a string of letters.

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